New Posts

Herper of the week

Herper of the Week: Dr. Heather L. Bateman

bg

Each week a “Herper” of the Week is chosen. These individuals come from all sorts of backgrounds but they all have one common interest – “herps” (reptiles and amphibians). Hopefully, you will learn about them and their important work.

This week’s herper is Dr. Heather L. Bateman, associate professor at Arizona State University, Polytechnic since 2008. She earned her doctorate from the University of New Mexico. Her current research focus on management of riparian or floodplain habitats with focus on reptiles, amphibians, and birds.

You can follow her on twitter at @BatemanHL  and visit her lab webpage at http://hbateman.faculty.asu.edu/research/

Advertisements
Other Amphibian of the Week

Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus)

photo by Rainer Theuer

least concern
Common Name: Northern Crested Newt, Great Crested Newt, and Warty Newt
Scientific Name: Triturus cristatus
Family: Salamandridae
Locations: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom
Size: 6 inches

The Great Crested Newt is named after the crested that males grow during breeding season. Breeding takes place during the spring to summer when the newts wake up from their hibernation. The newts move back to the ponds where they hatched to breed. Females lay around 200 eggs during a breeding season. After breeding, the newts move back to land and the males lose their crests. They are often found under rocks and logs.

1498
photo by Maciej Bonk

While the Great Crested Newt is listed as least concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), their populations are declining fast. The European Union has listed the Great Crested Newt as the protected species to help save them. The main reason for their decline is believed to be habitat loss due to development for urban areas.

Frog of the Week

Pig Frog (Lithobates grylio)

pig_frog_profile.jpg
photo by the USFWS

least concern
Common Name: Pig Frog
Scientific Name: Lithobates grylio
Family: Ranidae – True Frog Family
Locations: United States – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas
Introduced Locations: Bahamas, China, and Puerto Rico.
Size: 6.5 inches (165 mm)

The Pig Frog is named after the male’s mating call that sounds like a pig grunt. Like most frogs in North America, the Pig Frog breeds from early spring to late summer. Generally, the frog breeds in permanent bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, and swamps but have been known to breed in ephemeral ponds, streams, and roadside ditches. Females can lay up to 15,000 eggs during a breeding season. The Pig Frog is mostly aquatic, only coming to the edge of bodies of water.

New Species

New Species and Genus from the Western Ghats of India

fig-3-2x.jpg

A new species of frog was discovered in the Western Ghats of India. The Western Ghats is an incredible place to go frogging. There are three known families of frogs that are only found there and hundreds of different species of frogs. Not only was this new species discovered, it has been put into a new genus by itself and its own new subfamily.

Researchers decided on the common name  of the new frog as the Starry Dwarf Frog (Astrobatrachus kurichiyana) after the light spots on their body that resemble stars. The genus name also reflects that stars,  astro meaning star in Greek and batrachus meaning frog. The species epithet, Kurichiyana, is the name of the local tribal community living near the frogs. The Starry Dwarf Frog is a member of the family Nyctibatrachidae, a fairly new family. The family is only found in India and Sri Lanka. The new subfamily is named Astrobatrachinae.

The conservation status of the frog is currently unknown. Not much really is known about the Starry Dwarf Frog. What is known is that it is mainly terrestrial and nocturnal.  They are a small species of frogs, only growing to an inch long.

Read the full scientific article at https://peerj.com/articles/6457/

fig-3-2x

 

tree frog thursday

Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus)

cricket_frog3
photo by Stephen Friedt

least concern
Common Name: Southern Cricket Frog
Scientific Name: Acris gryllus
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Location: United States – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia
Size:  1.25 inches

The Southern Cricket Frog is an interesting species of tree frog. They don’t spend time high up in the trees, they spend it on the ground. They are also diurnal, active during the day, instead of nocturnal, active during the night, like many tree frogs.

There are two subspecies of the Southern Cricket Frog: the Florida Cricket Frog (A. g. dorsalis), and the Southern Cricket Frog (A. g. gryllus). Both are similar in appear but the Florida Cricket Frog has no anal warts.

Toad Tuesday

North American Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis)

GreenToad
photo by USGS

least concern
Common Name: Green Toad, North American Green Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus debilis
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Mexico and the United States
US Locations: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas
Size: 1.4 inches

The North American Green Toad is found in the south-central United States and down to Mexico. It is often called just the Green Toad but that often leads to confusion with the European Green Toad (Bufo viridis). There are two subspecies of North American Green Toad that are recognized today, the Western Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis insidior) and the Eastern Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis debilis). 

Breeding takes place during or after the summer rains come. When these rains arrive from Match to June, depend on location. As explosive breeders, the Green Toad generally only takes a few days to breed in temporary ponds filled by the summer rains. These ponds are free of some of the common predators of the toad’s eggs and tadpoles such as fish. They make amazing breeding sites besides the fact that they will eventually dry up.

 

 

 

Herper of the week

Herper of the Week: Dr. Shab Mohammadi

Each week a “Herper” of the Week is chosen. These individuals come from all sorts of backgrounds but they all have one common interest – “herps” (reptiles and amphibians). Hopefully, you will learn about them and their important work.

This week’s Herper is Dr. Shab Mohammadi, Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Storz Lab. She earned her Ph.D from Utah State. Her dissertation was on molecular and physiological mechanisms of toxins resistance in toad-eating snakes.

Her herp journey is not a common one but an important one. Born in Iran, her family and her left due to the revolution. Her family move around and eventually settled in Canada as refugees. Later, they moved to Washington D.C. in the United States. She is a great example of why we need to help refugees from around the world.

You can visit her site at – https://shabnammohammadi.weebly.com/ and follow her on twitter @Bufadienolides

Uncategorized

Cave Salamander (Eurycea lucifuga)

cave_salamander
photo by Todd Pierson

least concern
Common Name: Cave Salamander
Scientific Name: Eurycea lucifuga
Family: Plethodontidae – Lungless Salamanders
Locations: United States – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia
Size: 8 inches total length

The Cave Salamander can be found in and around caves, hence the name. They are also found along springs and streams. They primarily in the limestone regions. Cave Salamanders are adept climbers and climb the walls of caves and limestone rocks.

While the salamander is listed as Least Concern by the Internal Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), its populations in certain states are dwindling. In Ohio, Kansas, and Mississippi, they are listed as an Endangered species. In West Virginia, they are listed as Rare. The main threat is habitat destruction due to their specific habitat requirements.

 

Uncategorized

Great Basin Spadefoot Toad (Spea intermontana)

Spadefoot_pic
Great Basin Spadefoot by the NPS

least concern
Common Name: Great Basin Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Spea intermontana
Family: Scaphiopodidae – American Spadefoot Toad Family
Locations: Canada and the United States
US Locations: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming
Size: 2.5 inches

The Great Basin Spadefoot Toad is found in the western United States and southwestern Canada. They live primarily in arid, desert regions where rain is hard to come by, but they have adaptations to overcome these hostiles environments. The Great Basin Spadefoot Toads are explosive breeder. Once the spring rain falls, the males migrate to ponds and start calling. After mating, the eggs hatch in 2-4 days. These tadpoles can be herbivorous or carnivorous, depending on the locality. The tadpoles take over a month to fully undergo metamorphosis.

Like all Spadefoot Toads, the Great Basin Spadefoot Toad is great at burrowing. They have powerful hind legs that have keratonized sheaths on their rear feet. This helps them to burrow deep in the ground to protect themselves from their arid environment.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Misty Salamander (Hynobius nebulosus)

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
photo by Henk Wallays

least concern
Common Name: Misty Salamander, Clouded Salamander
Scientific Name: Hynobius nebulosus
Family: Hynobiidae – Asiatic Salamander Family
Location: Japan
Size: 5 inches total length

The Misty Salamander is found only in Japan on the islands of Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and on Ikishima. During the mating season, males stake out territory and will defend them from other males. This defense includes biting and tail wagging. If a male salamander can’t get a decent territory, they will become what scientists call a sneaker. These sneakers will wait around a different males territory until the other male is mating with female. The sneaker tries to sneak in and and fertilize the female’s eggs.